Building permits issued for single-family homes — a forward-looking indicator for new single-family home construction — fell for the first time on an annual basis in nearly three years, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

They slid 1.8 percent month over month in February to an annual rate of 588,000, and were down 2 percent from a year ago, marking the first annual drop since June 2011, according to the Census Bureau. 

Meanwhile, new construction of single-family homes inched up in February but not enough to surpass year-ago levels, according to the report.

While single-family housing starts increased 0.3 percent month over month in February to an annual rate of 583,000, they were down 10.6 percent year over year, according to Census Bureau data.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct calculations based on housing starts, not building permits.

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